Autumn is in full swing, and you know what that means! No, we’re not talking about your favorite flavored coffee drink arriving in local shops. It’s time to clean up all of those beautiful leaves that have begun to fall. And believe it or not, you can actually choose from different options with regard to that chore.

First of all, do you even need to clean up leaves? You do have some choice in the matter. A thick cover of leaves can kill your grass, so move on to the next part of this blog if that’s where your leaves are falling. Otherwise, you can possibly deal with a light leaf cover without raking or blowing. Simply run your lawnmower over them to break them up, and they’ll actually serve as terrific fertilizer.

If you do need to clean up your leaves…

Mulch and bag them. Attach a bagging system to your lawn mower, and mow your lawn on a dry day (wet leaves will clog the bagger). Now you can dispose of the bags of leaves, or use them as fertilizer in flower beds (skip the beds with fruit trees in them).

Use a blower or leaf vacuum. These gadgets do the job, but they’re loud. So check with your HOA regarding quiet hours (some don’t allow loud power equipment to be used on Sundays, for example). But avoid using these when leaves are wet; you’ll just waste your time and frustrate yourself.

Grab a rake and get moving. It’s the most old-fashioned method to remove leaves, but it still works! Raking leaves is also great exercise, and it’s good for the environment since you won’t use any fuels or add emissions to the air. You could pay some neighborhood kids to take care of this chore, if you aren’t up to it yourself.

Don’t waste your leaves! Rotting leaves add significant nutritional value to the soil, so don’t bag them up for the trash man! Compost them and use them in flower or vegetable beds, or spread a thin layer on your lawn for fertilizer.